by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn (Writers), Scott Koblish (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
The Story: Deadpool now has a price on his head, courtesy of a branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. Guess who’s unhappy about it?
The Review: This book is problematic for me right now. While it had the tendencies to diverge from pretty good to rather forgettable, the very last arc proved that it could actually exceed in quality the range previously established. With The good, the bad and the ugly being over and setting for a better take on the Merc with a Mouth, this title now has to live up with the fact that it proved it can actually be excellent. Still, with the last issue being somewhat problematic, can the duo of writers provide a good tale featuring the regenerate degenerate?
They do provide the entertainment that is the bread and butter of this series in this issue, yet not in the grandest or most ridiculous of ways. While this issue doesn’t do anything bad per se, it does not do anything spectacular either, giving this issue which works quite well in the grand scheme of things, yet does not rise above the other issues of this series.
What it does right, still, is in how both Duggan and Posehn are able to spin the many plates of the general story in the series. The return of Dr. Strange, the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. did not pay Deadpool back in the zombie presidents affair, how agent Adsit is aware of Agent Preston and her situation and many other smaller threads are mentioned and updated here, providing for some nice touches for those who were following the series so far. With the story in itself being the natural evolution of several of those subplots, it’s nice to see that both writers do have a general direction for the title as it provides for plenty of opportunity for more shenanigans down the line.
An area which can be qualified as hit and miss would be the humor, however, with a lot of jokes being fun in concepts, but not that hilarious in hindsight. The introduction of agent Adsit in this issue, what Deadpool does in order to stop watching a bad movie and some of the dialogue do ends up being rather funny, yet a lot of other concepts ends up being a bit flat. Humor is, of course, utterly suggestive in terms of effectiveness, yet most of those jokes don’t really add up to anything besides maybe providing a chuckle or two for some seconds.
This goes right to the heart of the problem of this issue, as both writers don’t go nearly far enough in their jokes, their setup and the action present in the issue. Deadpool, as a character, is one that does fit right at home when dealing with more obscure or out-there threats, with zombie presidents and demons being something that fits right in with the mood of the book. While it is very commendable of both Posehn and Duggan to focus on the problematic relation between Wade Wilson and S.H.I.E.L.D., a lot of the elements at play here feels perhaps a bit too safe in terms of entertainment.
A saving grace of the issue is the characterization, which follows up the evolution of the character quite aptly with what went down before. The interactions between Preston and Wade ends up being not only rather interesting and funny, but also a certain testament of an understanding between the two. It’s both subtle and rather obvious, yet the main duo behind the book is becoming more and more likeable, which is all thanks to the work of both writers.
Scott Koblish, the artist for this issue, proves to be quite like the two writers in a way, as he shares the same weakness. While what he does is quite competent on its own, with the characters being evocative enough in their designs, poses and facial expressions, most of the scenes don’t end up being that big or stylish enough to be utterly memorable. There are occasional pages where Koblish does something of note, with his panelling being dynamic enough and the action being entertaining for the sake of it. Where he excels, though, is with his sceneries and background, adding plenty of elements and details without making it redundant or simply useless. His backgrounds are full of life and details, never stealing the spotlight, always adding plenty of context to the scenes for the characters to breathe and come to life within them. Never going overboard and never doing too little, Koblish actually does this very right, despite the rest being merely decent-looking.
Jordie Bellaire, all the while, does some pretty good work on her own, with her colorization being very competent. Being both minimal and rather extravagant, her pages benefits from larger themes in terms of colors as she adds plenty of smaller touches to provide smaller contrasts, surrounding them around the more central elements. The very warm colorization of the Dr. Strange scene is clashing with the books, cushions and general character design, while the battle against Crossbone is set by the colorful backgrounds and the way the trees are colored in order to put the two fighters on the spotlight. It’s not the most diverse-looking book in terms of palette, yet Bellaire does some solid work with very simple techniques all the same.
The Conclusion: The story is okay, the characterization is solid and the colorization is good, yet the book doesn’t do much of anything to be particularly impressive in any other areas. It’s a decent book with some strong elements, but doesn’t provide the same amount of quality it can delivers.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière